Carlsbad Tavern & Restaurant History
Founded with the mission of bringing unique New Mexican cuisine to Scottsdale diners, Carlsbad Tavern & Restaurant has been serving up authentic, spicy and flavorful food for nearly two decades.
Created by Michael P. Capriola and named in homage to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southern New Mexico, the restaurant opened in 1995 at Scottsdale Road and Earll Drive. The original location was developed with an eclectic New Mexican theme, including bats, Mexican movie posters, Roswell memorabilia and a newspaper menu called The Daily Guano. In 1998, the restaurant moved to Hayden Road, just south of Osborn where the bat cave theme was further developed, making the most of the water feature, The Guano Canal, on the patio and providing a cave-like interior in the dining room and bar.
Carlsbad Tavern’s philosophy centers on providing guests with an entertaining environment, excellence in the kitchen and friendly, efficient service. While the sign touts New Mexican “grub,” the quality of food and attention to detail in preparation has always been of utmost importance. Many of the original and core dishes are still being served today. Favorites (carne adovada, osso bucco, crab-stuffed poblanos) requested by regulars – aka “bat fans” – are daily specials.
Over the years, Carlsbad Tavern’s menu has consistently won accolades on the local and national level, including:
• 20 Places for Hispanic Dishes: Enchantment Platter, Arizona Republic, September 2011
• 10 Favorite Spicy Dishes: Habanero Cheeseburger, Phoenix New Times, September 2011
• Top 100 Dishes in the Valley: New Mexican Potstickers, Phoenix New Times, August 2011
• One of 51 Ways to Beat the Heat, Phoenix Magazine, July 2011
• Best Burger in Phoenix/Scottsdale in Travel and Leisure Magazine, May 2011
• One of the Top 85 restaurants in Phoenix Magazine, January 2011
• Habanero Cheeseburger, Best Burger in Arizona, Food Network Magazine, 2009
• Best Restaurant, Food Lover’s Guide to the Valley; Phoenix Magazine, 2007
• Best Pork Dish for Carne Adovada, 50 Best Dishes in the Valley; Phoenix New Times, Jan. 2009
• Best Patio Dining, Best of Phoenix; Phoenix New Times, 2001
In addition, Carlsbad Tavern prides itself on providing locally-brewed and micro-brewed beers on draft, as well as a comprehensive wine list with wine pairings suggested on all entrees. Happy hours offer a discounted menu, and a reverse happy hour and menu in the evenings draws out industry workers from throughout the Valley, who appreciate the atmosphere, the quality of food and the company.
Carlsbad Tavern continues today under the ownership of Andrew Capriola and Judith Merritt. As a family-run restaurant, Carlsbad Tavern welcomes all ages and offers excellent food and service in a relaxed and welcoming environment for casual dining, special occasions, group events and parties and just hanging around the bat cave with a draft beer.